Naturally lowering cholesterol can be done safely and effectively.
by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
If you are looking at naturally lowering cholesterol levels, then the best and most fundamental way to go about it is to alter your lifestyle and diet. The suggestions outlined on this page would be useful.
First, let me provide some background information on the topic.
Cholesterol is a lipid found in the cell membranes of animal tissues. It is found more in body tissues which have denser membranes, or which synthesize more membranes. Examples are the brain and the liver.
The body synthesizes most of its own cholesterol, while some come from our
dietary intake. The liver does most of the production, although some production also takes place in the cells of the
Cholesterol has a role in several processes, for example the building and maintaining of cell membranes and walls, the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins, and the manufacture of bile. It is also the major precursor for the bodys synthesis of Vitamin D and some hormones as well as used to coat nerve cells in the body.
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A note about Naturally Lowering Cholesterol
In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.
In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.
Movement of Cholesterol
As it is not soluble in blood, cholesterol is transported in the bloodstream by substances called lipoproteins. There are a few kinds of lipoproteins, but the two most commonly known and measured are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL).
Total cholesterol and Triglycerides, another type of lipid in the blood, are usually also measured, while very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) are sometimes measured.
LDLs and HDLs are produced by the liver. LDLs carry cholesterol and other fats to organs and tissues in other areas of the body. On the other hand, HDLs transport cholesterol and other fats from body organs and tissues back to the liver for excretion or reuse.
Now, most of us talk about cholesterol as a bad thing. Therefore, high cholesterol is undesirable, and we want to lower it. This viewpoint is not totally correct. Cholesterol is actually necessary for several very critical functions in the body.
However, excess cholesterol in the blood stream can be deposited in arteries and can cause plaque formation as well as harden arteries. Heart disease, heart attack and stroke may then result.
Since high levels of LDL suggest that there is more cholesterol in the bloodstream than is necessary, LDL cholesterol is thus known as bad cholesterol.
On the other hand, high levels of HDL, which can remove cholesterol from cells, offer protection. HDL cholesterol is thus good cholesterol.
In general,higher levels of LDL and lower levels of HDL are strongly associated with heart disease and stroke. In contrast, high HDL readings suggest a healthy heart and overall better health outcomes.
Hence, what we want is less LDL cholesterol, or a lower ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. In common language, high cholesterol usually refers to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is not a good thing.
Factors which affect the ratio and balance of HDL and LDL include ones build, drug medications, as well as dietary and lifestyle factors.
So, which are the lifestyle and dietary factors which we can influence in order to naturally lower
Exercise! Humans need to move -- this is something you cannot escape if you are talking about naturally lowering cholesterol. Exercise expends energy, and when other energy sources in the body have been used up, the liver makes more HDL to go pick up cholesterol in the body and convert them into energy.
Moderate exercise of about 30 minutes three to five times per week increases HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol. Even brisk walking will help. This is possibly the best way at naturally lowering cholesterol.
Of course, exercise also comes with a whole host of other beneficial effects to the body,
including a healthier heart.
Related to our need for exercise is the fact that being overweight can also raise your LDL levels and lower your HDL levels. Therefore, if you are overweight, lowering your body weight contributes a great deal to naturally lowering cholesterol levels.
Not to mention, you will also look and FEEL
Smoking increases LDL levels while reducing HDL levels. And, as we all know, smoking is also killing you in a thousand other ways!
Some drug medications may affect your cholesterol levels. If you are on prescription drugs, talk to your doctor about the effects of any such drugs you may be taking.
Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and removes it from your body, thereby reducing the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines. It is thus very useful for naturally lowering cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is found in fruits, for example apples, pears, prunes and berries; vegetables, such as yams, brussel sprouts, broccoli and carrots; and legumes (beans and peas) and whole grains, like kidney beans, barley, oatmeal, oat bran, rye. Psyllium, too, is high in soluble fiber.
Omega-3 fatty acids can lower cholesterol levels and also help in other ways, such as lowering blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. The highest level of these fatty acids can be found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, as well as in cold fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.
Walnuts, almonds and other kinds of nuts and seeds (must be eaten raw) have been shown in some studies to be helpful in naturally lowering cholesterol. They are also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and are thus good for the heart and blood vessels.
In addition, it is believed that the antioxidants in olive oil can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Cut back on saturated and trans fats, as they can raise your total cholesterol.
Saturated fats are found in meats and some oils, with the worst culprits being fatty meats, red meats, processed meats and poultry skin.
Trans fats are often used to make pastries, cookies, cakes and other snack foods. Trans fats are especially
harmful as they raise LDL cholesterol levels while lowering HDL cholesterol levels.
There are certain foods which adversely affect cholesterol levels and should be avoided if you are working on lowering cholesterol naturally. These include ice cream, butter, cheese, and egg yolks. Fried foods, margarine and lard, as well as other foods with hydrogenated oils, are big culprits. Seafood also contains high levels of cholesterol.
Stay away from processed
and junk foods, and also try to reduce your sodium intake.
Basically, eat more healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc, as they are low in saturated and trans fats as well as cholesterol, and are also beneficial to the body in many other ways.
If you can, go
vegetarian - vegetarians, in general, have lower cholesterol levels, and are also healthier.
Statin drugs are usually prescribed by doctors to control or lower cholesterol levels. But they control production of cholesterol by your body - would the problem go away if you continue to consume large amounts of high-cholesterol food?
Remember, prescription drugs only mask symptoms - not only do they not solve the problem, they in fact very often create NEW problems in the body. For example, Statin drugs also limit the production of Coenzyme-Q10, which is critical for heart health. And who knows what else these drugs do to our bodies!
If you really want to reduce your cholesterol levels permanently and safely, then dietary and lifestyle changes are a must.
The basic strategy for naturally lowering cholesterol levels is actually not very different from that for achieving overall health and vitality (if you havent already, read about our list of good health habits here).
In general, the foods and lifestyle habits to avoid harm you in more ways than just giving you high cholesterol, while the foods to eat and lifestyle habits to adopt give you more benefits than just naturally lowering cholesterol levels.
Thus, if you follow the suggestions to lower cholesterol naturally outlined on this page, I am quite certain you will see not only better cholesterol levels, but also a healthier you.
If you are interested to find out more about lowering cholesterol levels, do read the related articles on cholesterol supplements and herbs to lower cholesterol.
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Share YOUR Knowledge and Experiences on Cholesterol
Do you have any experiences, knowledge and information on cholesterol which would be useful to our other readers? These could include natural remedies and alternative treatments; lifestyle habits; herbs and herbal remedies; supplements; foods, diets and nutrition; as well as other related topics. We invite you to share your natural health knowledge and experiences on cholesterol here.
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